Getting a diagnosis for your child or teenager can be key to understanding their challenges and ensuring they get the best possible support in place.
Why get a diagnosis?
As parents, we are often loathed to ‘label’ our children, worried that doing so may somehow define them unfairly. However, an autism diagnosis has many benefits, including:
- Creating an understanding of why your child finds certain things challenging
- Ensuring your child has the correct support around them to enable them to thrive
- Giving your child a way to understand why they find some things difficult compared to other children
What happens in an autism assessment?
It's important to get an assessment with a qualified professional who is trained and experienced in diagnosing autism to ensure they consider all aspects of your child’s life and other conditions that may be present.
The ‘gold-standard’ approach to diagnosing autism in children is to have several clinicians involved – this is known as a multi-disciplinary approach and ensures a comprehensive and objective assessment.
Our autism assessments use evidence-approved recommendations with input from some of the most experienced clinicians in the UK.
Autism assessments are extremely thorough, and parents are often amazed at the detail our clinicians go into to ensure they have the right information to inform important diagnostic decisions.
- Pre-assessment questionnaires – we will ask you and your child’s school to complete some important forms to understand how your child behaves in different environments and what challenges they experience.
- Appointment for your child – your child will meet with a specialist clinician who will spend a few hours with them, using toys, games and conversation to understand how your child sees the world. Whilst it should be a fun experience for your child, the clinician will use evidence-based and approved screening tools to assess your child against the criteria relevant to autism.
- Appointment for you – a key part of the diagnosis is understanding your child’s development, which is why you will meet with a qualified professional to go into some depth about your child’s developmental history.
- Diagnostic report – following your appointments the clinicians will need to write everything up using all the information that has been gathered. A full and comprehensive report is written, with a diagnosis (where one can be made) and further recommendations.
- Feedback appointment – all too often parents receive the diagnosis for their child and are left feeling ‘What is next?’. It’s natural to have a lot of questions, so as part of our assessment you will meet with the clinician again to have time to go through the report and ask any questions you have.